Is It Asking Too Much to Expect Things to Work as Advertised?

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Blog entry by knotscott posted 05-14-2010 01:15 PM 7804 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It seems as though I’ve had a rash of bad luck with a variety of products lately, and I’m starting to get a little chafed….I’m also trying to do something about it when possible. I don’t think it’s asking too much for a product (or service) to work as claimed, or something reasonably close. I’m fed up…I suspect corporate greed is really the root to all this.

About 3 weeks ago I bought a set of Jeld-Wen optional sliding patio screen doors to cover the main patio doors…you know the ones…one side fixed, one side slides and has the crappy metal frame with adjustable rollers top and bottom that never seem to slide properly. I should have known better before I brought them home, but what a poor execution of a crap design….and these were $90! I’m reasonably mechanically inclined, and couldn’t get things to work well even in a square frame. They went back to the store within 2 hours, and I fired off a nasty gram to Jeld-Wen….got an unheart-felt corporate type response. The replacements were vinyl framed “Screen Tite” doors that I hung with more traditional hinges….much better for only $70 pair.

The same weekend I bought some Spectracide Weed Stop….ready to use, “kills the weeds, not the lawn”. I wish I had tested it first…it killed everything it contacted, much like an edging treatment. Sent them a nastygram as well, and got no response. Sent another and got offered my $5 back. My lawn is riddled with dead spots, and they think a $5 refund is sufficient?! I wrote a scathing review on as a warning to others. Kinda scary when a chemical company can mislabel a batch of product with little recourse. Any other suggestions?

2 weeks ago, the recoil broke on my 20 month old Troy Bilt TB70SS gas trimmer. Dang, can’t find the owner’s manual and receipt (my bad). The part is $35 plus s/h. I broke down and bought a refurbished Ryobi for $55 shipped that accepts all the attachments….not as strong, but runs well. Somewhere along the way, I’ll probably send an email and/or write a review on Epinions.

I’ve got a pack of 50W halogen kitchen lights that need to be returned to HD….two weeks of service from 2 of the 3 bulbs ain’t cuttin’ it when you pay $10 for a 3-pack of light bulbs!

Today I spent the better part of the day fixing my garage door opener. It’s old enough that I’m not too bugged that it went bad, but I’m miffed that the replacement parts were defective. I managed to swap enough parts in from the original that it’s now working. The vendor did offer a new logic board for it. By the end of the day, I have an operating garage door opener, but only because I was willing to spend time trouble shooting it.

Yesterday, after I fixed the garage door opener, I was trying to change the blades on my Ridgid planer. Using an L-shaped hex wrench, I couldn’t budge a single one of the 21 screws that hold those blades in place. I even tried tapping them all with a hammer first. I decided to put a 4mm hex bit in my impact driver….the hammering impact action worked like a charm, and all 21 bolts were loosened in no time. I’m still miffed about the igit that cranked these screws down, but at least I was able to solve this one myself. I think the term “technician” gets used a little too liberally these days….it should be an earned title, not assigned.

To top it off, several weeks ago we bought an item and used PayPal’s “Bill Me Later” option because it offered $50 off a $90 purchase. No sign of the $50 refund, and no email acknowledgements that it’s pending. An email to their CS resulted in no response. About a week later, I send a second email that results in an automated response that tells me that it can take up to 10 days to get an actual response! Sounds like a perfect recipe for ignoring CS issues to me.

I realize that costs are a driving factor, but most of these products were a good buck, except for the Spectracide. I’m just tired of junk that doesn’t work well, and corporate greed and arrogance. Voting with your wallet is one possible action in these situations, but an increase in customer complaints is more clear to the big-wigs. I vote to do both!

Rant off….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

9 comments so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#1 posted 05-14-2010 01:34 PM

A sliding glass door here, even a cheap one like yours is several hundred dollars. buy cheap, get cheap, cry a lot

cheap lightbulbs are the same. the wife always bought the cheapest crap she could find and they always had a very short life. Finally bought the good ones and a year later they still work. Same for the light fixture.

I am definitly not a fan of Ryobi…...............dressed up junk… offence

Everytime I buy “cheap”.............I regret it.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3370 days

#2 posted 05-14-2010 01:57 PM

The actual patio door was ~ $500 and works fine…it was the optional $90 screen doors that were problematic for me.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3124 days

#3 posted 05-14-2010 03:32 PM

I love people who pontificate and tell you its your fault. And whats cheap about halogen light bulbs? I’ve had weeks like this and it seems to be more and more common. There sure is a lot junk out there some of it pretty high priced too. With all work shipped off to semi-slave labor in China and nothing on this side of the ocean but money changers and ceo types is it any wonder there’s no pride or accountability? Its time for we put up some tariffs just like every other nation on Earth. I’d pay 20% more if it meant we could get back American jobs and pride.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#4 posted 05-14-2010 03:36 PM

not at all. I think people accepting that we’re being BSed by the mfg companies is what makes these executives think it’s OK to sell us a bunch of lies.

FYI: now all that’s inexpensive is cheaply made! you just need to pick and choose until you get to the good stuff, much like in a pile of lumber at the lumberyard (yes, this can be work intensive by itself).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Walt M.'s profile

Walt M.

245 posts in 3005 days

#5 posted 05-14-2010 03:56 PM

Whether it’s cheep or not you should expect some good use out of it,
may not last a hundred years but it was cheep.
A #5 plane i got for $38 still chaps my butt, you can probably guess what brand. Oh but if you buy a better plane iron it works great. What

Most of what I see in inferior products is not the quality (that’s to be expected with cheep) it’s the design or engineering that’s the problem

I’m not smart but I’m not stupid (except the case of the plane)

If these companies are going to invest time and lots of money to bring a product to market the least they could do is make a decent product.

With the internet maybe some of these can get a bad enough review that they look at their reputation instead of the bottom line.

Ya I feel better now

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3103 days

#6 posted 05-14-2010 03:56 PM

Pretty much the reason why I started woodworking and DYIing in the first place. There seems to be a missing element between the chip board WalMart product and the Oaken, made by Tibetan Dwarves, products. I think the consumer has developed “learned helplessness” and tries to live with the inadequacies of the merchandise. Even if it is a hassle, I usually will return anything that doesn’t fulfill the minimal, advertised, expectations. The only way it becomes painful for the companies that produce junk is to make them eat the cost of making junk. If they continue to make a profit, then the trend will never stop.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View popsshop's profile


42 posts in 2970 days

#7 posted 05-14-2010 08:35 PM

This is my first comment on LJ, but the subject of inferior foreign products and the lost jobs in USA, plus all that goes with that scenario are pet peeves of mine. Don’t really want to get started and write what you folks already know, but I will comment on the Troy-Bilt yard tool. That brand was an American company from the get-go for many years, but they sold out to someone (don’t know if foreign or not) and since then their reputation has sunk. I have owned a Troy-Bilt ‘Horse’ rear tine tiller and a self-propelled mulching mower that were both made before the selloff, and I can attest that they were fine machinery – no problems at all with either of them. In many cases these days when a company is sold, it’s not only the factory, tools, dies, molds etc that changes hands, but the brand name as well, an obvious advantage for the buying company if they intend to purposely downgrade the quality of the product. However, many consumers are unaware of this and buy the product under the reputation of the original company, and well . . . . we all know the rest of that story. For me, the old Latin phrase Caveat Emptor is something that’s good to keep in mind, for ultimately the consumer is the one who ends up with the lower quality product, and at the least must deal with replacement/repair/return – the new “three Rs”. Thanks for the opportunity to vent here, and I sincerely hope those of you who’ve purchased some tools/products that you expected to be much better quality, will be able to find resolution for your problem.

-- Drilling holes in wood is a boring job

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3370 days

#8 posted 05-14-2010 11:33 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Welcome to LJs Pops! I agree 100% with your comments about brand names…enough so that it actually motivated my last blog a week or so ago about brand name loyalty.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3985 days

#9 posted 05-15-2010 01:42 AM

Free tade is better for everyone. There are high quality products out there, you just can’t buy them at the borg. Stop trying to. Just like you can’t get Cadillacs at the Yugo car lot.

Cheap light bulbs are cheap because they are designed not to last as long. Designed to not last as long introduces materials that may fail quite a bit before the top of the normal distibution curve. Returning them is what you have to do. But, don’t expect anything else from them.

But, knotscott, you must be a glutten for punishment. If I’d had that string of defeats, I would have crawled into bed for a couple of days in the fetal position.

-- Jim

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